If you’re under 18 and pregnant or your girlfriend is pregnant by you, I’m sure you have a lot of questions on your mind. Who can decide what happens to the baby? How are we supposed to do that? What about school? We don’t have any money yet! And do we even want to become parents yet? Here you can find out what rights girls and boys have in this situation and where to get support.
Pregnant? No matter what happens – you are not alone!
A Pregnancy is a significant event in life and raises many questions. All the more so if you are still a minor or unintentionally pregnant are. No matter what the circumstances are: You will get support no matter what. It is best to first confide in a person who is close to you and whom you trust. This can be someone from your family, but also other people from your environment. This person can be an important emotional support for you and perhaps also practical help.
What counseling centers are available for teenage pregnancies?
Next, you should seek professional counseling, because you are entitled to financial help, to legal assistance, and also to very practical support in everyday life if you are pregnant are. However, you have to apply for this and it is not easy to understand all this on your own. The first point of contact could be, for example, a Pregnancy counseling center his. They are available all over Germany and the counseling is free of charge for you. The people who work there are bound to silence: everything that is discussed there remains among you.
Most counseling centers can also issue a counseling voucher. Who you need Girl and Women, who are unintentionally pregnant and decide not to have the child.
Photo: asiseeit/iStock/Getty Images
The most important legal issues at a glance
Who are the legal parents?
The first question that arises legally: Who are actually the Parents? In legal terms, this means to whom the child is legally assigned.
If the father does not want to acknowledge paternity or if you are not quite sure who the father is, paternity can also be established by the courts. For this purpose the family court orders a paternity test
Who actually has custody?
The parental care (colloquially custody) is initially always with the mother. This also applies to underage young mothers. However, there is a restriction here: parental care for teenagers is dormant; this means that you may temporarily exercise it only in a limited way. More about this later.
Parental care of parents who are not married to each other; declarations of custody
Are the parents at the time of Birth married to each other, they have joint custody by law. If you are not married at the time of the birth, the mother and the legal father can have joint parental custody of the child in the following ways Child obtain it:
- You can – even before the child is born – file a declaration of custody with a notary public or with the Youth Welfare Office (§ 59 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 No. 8 SGB VIII), i.e. declare that you want to take over the parental care together. A parent who is not yet of age and wishes to make a declaration of custody needs the consent of his or her legal representative to do so.
- You can marry (but you are not allowed to do so until you are 18).
- A parent files a petition for transfer of joint custody with the family court and the transfer is not contrary to the best interests of the newborn child. If you are under the age of majority, you must be represented by your legal guardian in court proceedings. His consent is not sufficient here.
For underage fathers, parental care is suspended in the same way as for underage mothers.
What does suspension of parental care mean??
Depending on which of you is how old and what your relationship is like, there are different variants:
1. The mother is a minor, unmarried and there is no joint custody
- You have sole custody of your baby, §1626a para. 3 GERMAN CIVIL CODE .
- Since you are a minor, parental care is suspended, which means that you are not entitled to exercise it according to § 1675 BGB.
- The youth welfare office appoints a guardian for your child.
- In case of disagreement in the field of actual personal care, your opinion goes gem. § 1673 Abs. 2 S.3 BGB before.
- As soon as you become of age, you automatically exercise the parental care alone. The guardianship ends.
2. Mother and father are both minors and you want to have joint care for the child
- Since you are not allowed to marry in Germany until you are of age (§ 1303 sentence 1 BGB ), you can apply for a declaration of custody (§ 1626a Abs. 1 no. 1 BGB ).
- You need the consent of your legal guardians (§ 1626 c para. 2 BGB ).
- The parental care of both of you is suspended (§1673 BGB) and a guardian is appointed.
- In case of differences of opinion in the area of actual personal care, your opinion as parents takes precedence (§1673 Abs. 2 sentence 3 BGB ).
3. One of you is a minor, the other one is of age and you want to take care of the child together
- You can make a declaration of custody (§ 1626a Abs. 1 No. 1 BGB ).
- For the declaration of custody by the minor parent to be effective, the parent’s legal representative must agree (§ 1626c para. 2 BGB ).
- The parental care of the minor parent rests.
- The adult parent exercises parental care alone, there is no guardian (§ 1678 para. 1 S.1 BGB ).
- In the case of differences of opinion (in the area of the actual personal care) you must agree or if it does not go at all and the matter is important, the family court determines, which of you may make the decision in this matter (§ 1628 BGB).
- As soon as the minor parent comes of age, you automatically exercise joint custody.
What does guardianship mean?
Important to know! The guardian is not allowed to decide anything over your head and should involve you in everything. In case of disagreements in actual day-to-day matters, you as the young mother or you as the couple with the declaration of custody also have the final say. If there are disputes that you cannot solve alone, you can always turn to the family court.
During pregnancy you can suggest someone from your family or your close environment as guardian. The family court then decides whether this person is suitable for this task. If no guardian was appointed before, the youth welfare office automatically takes over the guardianship for the baby in the case of teenage mothers. It can be replaced at any time by a suitable person from your environment.
§ 1673 BGB Suspension of the parental care with legal obstacle
However, it may be useful to appoint a neutral third person as guardian. This is because conflicts can quickly arise when difficult decisions or parenting issues are involved. For example, if the guardian interferes in your upbringing of the child. Because this is part of the personal care and that is up to you. The youth welfare office uses only very well trained persons for this task. Therefore, you do not need to be afraid that they will interfere too much.
Who must pay the maintenance?
Child support is money that is intended to finance the living expenses of a child. This includes all things that are important for daily life – for example, clothing, food, a place to stay, but also a few basics like toys and later school supplies.
If you are raising your child alone, i.e. without a partner, the other parent is obliged to pay child support. Since minors usually do not earn any money, they often cannot pay alimony. In this case you can apply for alimony advance at the Youth welfare office apply. This means that the youth welfare office takes over the maintenance. Since this is not easy to understand, you should ask the Youth Welfare Office to explain to you what you have to consider if you want to apply for advance maintenance payments for your child. Here, by the way, the guardian of your child also supports you, because suing for alimony or applying for alimony advance are legal matters in the interest of your child.
In which cases you can apply for maintenance advance, shows this infographic of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ ).
How much is the child support?
The amount of child support is calculated based on income, for this purpose there is the so-called Dusseldorf Table. The values from the table are, however, only a guideline, the actual calculation also includes other factors. You can find the Dusseldorfer Tabelle, as of January 2019, online at various sources.
Since the whole thing is quite complicated, you should definitely get information from the pregnancy counseling or the youth welfare office.
However, the state will only step in as long as the paying parent is not able to pay the support. As soon as it earns enough money (which as of April 2019 is more than 1.080 euros net per month), the maintenance must be paid by yourself. However, the child support advance already paid may then have to be refunded to the youth welfare office.
Where to find financial support?
There are many different ways for pregnant women, fathers-to-be and young families to get support. Depending on your situation and financial situation, you can apply for various benefits.
The Ministry of Family Affairs has all the individual benefits available for pregnant women and young families on the Family Portal pages. There is also a search for counseling centers, .you can search for a counseling center near you, depending on the topic
Take advantage of these offers! Most of the information you find on the Internet is not easy to understand and the whole subject cannot be explained in a few sentences.
The pregnancy counseling centers or the youth welfare office can help you further.
Pregnant at school – what about maternity leave?
Pregnancy does not mean that young people have to drop out of school or stop their training! The Maternity Protection Act Protects pregnant women and new mothers from putting themselves or the baby at risk by putting too much stress on them. However, it also protects you from excessive demands and disadvantages at work, in training or studies. And this also applies to schoolgirls.
It is important that you attend School Inform them early that you are pregnant. The school must ensure that you can continue to attend school without endangering your health or that of your child. And what is necessary for this, you discuss best together. You can go to school as normal until the maternity leave period begins. You may be excused from physical education at some point, but otherwise not much needs to change..
When does the maternity leave period start for teenagers?
The maternity protection period always begins six weeks before The period of maternity leave ends after the expected date of childbirth Eight weeks after birth. Compulsory schooling is suspended during this time – you can concentrate fully on preparing for the birth and then rest and get to know your baby.
If you are fit and want to, you can also go to school during this time. Here you can discuss with your school what is possible for you and what is not. You could, for example, continue to attend classes, but be exempted from exams. Or you only go to school for a few hours a day. However, if you have physical discomfort or are too preoccupied with the baby and the future, it may be better to put school on the back burner for a while.
Your doctor can also forbid you to go to school if she thinks it is too stressful for you or the baby.
Teen pregnancy: Who will take care of the baby during school??
If you are still of compulsory school age, you theoretically have to go back to school after the end of the maternity leave period. How you organize your school day or the care of your baby then depends on your personal circumstances. Do you live in a mother/father/child facility, do the caregivers worry about it while you are at school. If you live with your family, you may have support from them or from friends. You can also put your child in a crèche for a few hours a day or have it looked after by a childminder. For this you can apply for a childcare voucher at the youth welfare office. The Youth Welfare Office will also help you find a place in childcare and may cover the costs. However, there is a legal right to a place in kindergarten only after the child’s first birthday.
Entitlement to parental leave
Parental leave Unfortunately, minors cannot apply for childcare, as this conflicts with compulsory education. But the parents of underage pregnant women have a right to Grandparenting, if their children are still of school age or in education! If your parents want to take care of your child, they can apply for up to three years of grandparent leave from their employer according to the law on parental leave and parental allowance.
If there is no childcare available or the new situation is too stressful for you to attend school, you can take a leave of absence from school for a certain period of time. You can then take care of yourself and your baby in peace and make up for the missed school year. And that is really not bad. The most important thing is that you are well.
Can I have an abortion in the case of an unwanted pregnancy??
For some teenagers, starting a family so young is not an option. In the case of unwanted pregnancy The girl can also have an abortion (colloquially: abortion) as a minor. An abortion is illegal in Germany even in the case of unwanted pregnancies. However, it remains unpunished if certain conditions are met:
- You have sought counseling at a counseling center approved for this purpose at least three days before the date of the appointment and have a counseling certificate.
- The abortion must be carried out by a medical professional.
- The doctor must not be the person from whom you have sought counseling.
- Only a maximum of 12 weeks may have passed since conception.
Here you can find addresses of recognized counseling centers.
Whether your parents have to agree to an abortion depends on how old and how mature you are. This is where the so-called capacity to consent comes into play.
By the way, it is entirely the decision of the girl or woman whether she wants to have the baby or not. No one may urge or persuade you to terminate the pregnancy, not even your family or the father of the child!
Does the health insurance pay for an abortion??
There are other cases in which a medical abortion remains unpunished:
- If it is medically determined that the pregnancy or birth would pose a significant health risk to you.
- If you have been through sexual abuse or. you have become pregnant as a result of rape and are 12 years pregnant. pregnancy week have not yet been exceeded.
In these two cases the health insurance will cover the costs of the abortion. In all other cases you have to pay for it yourself.
Unwanted pregnancy: can I have the baby and give it up for adoption?
If you do not see any possibility of taking good care of your baby, but you also do not want an abortion, you may be able to get one Adoption in question. If you are thinking about this, you should discuss it with the youth welfare office or pregnancy counseling early on. There it can be clarified whether evtl. the father must also agree to the adoption and the search for a suitable family can begin.
You discuss with the Youth Welfare Office which form of adoption is suitable for you. Depending on the form, you can even have contact with your child. A distinction is made between three forms of adoption:
- The incognito adoption: Here birth parents and adoptive parents have no personal contact with each other. You will only be informed in general about what the adoptive parents do for a living and what nationality they have. If you agree that the adoptive parents accept the baby, the contact between you is finished. The child can see the birth registration at the registry office as soon as it is 16 years old and then contact you.
Incognito adoption is the form of adoption provided by law.
- Semi-open adoption: this is a way for you to participate in your child’s life from a distance without direct contact. Here the Jugendamt is the interface – it forwards letters and photos from the adoptive parents to you so that you can see how the child is developing.
- The open adoption: In this form you get to know the adoptive parents and you can then also keep permanent contact with the family and the child, for example through regular visits.
- It is important for you to know that in case of adoption the adoptive parents get the sole custody of the child. That’s why you have to wait eight weeks after the birth before you can finally agree to the adoption. This should give you enough time to think carefully about your decision.
Because we are the Ministry of Justice, the focus on these pages is on the legal issues. But I’m sure you have many other questions that this text doesn’t answer. The first place to go for this is the counseling centers mentioned in the text. On the net you can find even more information at the Federal Center for Health Education and the Ministry of Family Affairs:
At the latest when the child is 16 years old, he has a right to know who his biological parents are and may contact you if he wishes to do so.